Scope of this policy
Anyone can contact the FHT and raise a complaint about one of its members. This can include clients, other therapists, regulatory bodies, police or any interested party.
Anonymous complaints (where the person making the complaint does not give their name) will not normally be actioned. If however, the information given relates to professional misconduct or serious allegations about an FHT member’s fitness to practise, we will investigate the complaint.
While there are no time limits on complaints, we recommend all complaints are made as near to the event as possible to ensure that evidence and details are up to date.
Complainants will be kept up to date with any ongoing investigations and the progress.
If you have a complaint but not sure of the next step, FHT staff will offer advice and guidance on how to deal with a complaint and the best way forward to resolve it. FHT offers a helpline that is available to call and discuss your complaint with FHT Staff. Please call 023 8062 4350 if you wish to discuss a complaint. Please note you will still be required to complete the Complaint Form.
If it is necessary for the complaint to go to a Professional Conduct Panel hearing, the Registrar will give 1-2-1 support, guidance and advice to both parties about what to expect during the hearing and its processes. The Registrar can assess any individual requirements and this will be done on a case-by-case basis.
Bringing an allegation of complaint
An allegation can be brought by:
- a member of the public seeking or using a service provided by a member of the FHT; or
- a member against another member; or
- an interested third party against a member, or
- notification of removal from another voluntary or state regulated professional body, or
- criminal investigation proceedings against a member
- the Governing Council of the FHT against a member
- the FHT is made aware of an insurance claim which may bring into question a member’s fitness to practise.
The allegation must satisfy the following conditions:
- It is a breach of the Code of Conduct and Professional Practice of the FHT in force at the time the alleged breach occurred, and/or concerns an allegation of one or more of the following Heads of Complaint: professional misconduct, professional malpractice, or bringing the FHT or the therapy industry into disrepute.
- The allegation must be relevant to their work as a member of FHT
- The member is named and is a current member of the FHT
- The complaint is submitted in writing on the FHT Complaint Form and received in full by the FHT Registrar
- The allegation is not made anonymously.
If the FHT is notified of criminal investigations or convictions this will be dealt with as if raised as a complaint and will usually result in immediate suspension awaiting further information from the police. The member will be informed in writing of their suspension, but the FHT cannot enter into any further conversation with the individual as we are not permitted to get involved in criminal investigations.
What can you make a complaint about?
We consider all cases individually, but all members must abide by the FHT Code of Conduct and Professional Practice and are subject to the Professional Conduct Procedure.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- acting in the best interests of clients
- only working within the limits of competency
- observing confidentiality
- practising within the law
- not blurring boundaries between the client / therapist relationship
- use of threatening or inappropriate behaviour.
What can the FHT not do?
Whilst we consider all cases individually we are not able to:
- consider complaints about non-FHT members
- get involved in matters not related to FHT membership
- arrange refunds or compensation
- give legal advice or get involved in legal disputes.
How do you make a complaint?
In order to make a complaint you must:
- make the complaint in writing using the FHT Complaint Form (at the bottom of this page)
- identify the FHT member you are complaining about
- provide sufficient details so that both FHT and the FHT member concerned can understand the nature of the complaint and respond accordingly
- provide any information requested by the FHT pertaining to the complaint.
How long will it take?
The FHT understands that making a complaint can be stressful. The FHT will endeavour to consider the case in a timely manner and update the complainant and the member at each stage. This will include:
- confirmation of receipt of the complaint by the FHT
- regular updates on information received by the FHT during the investigation
- details of any hearings or meetings to be held.
Each case is individual; however delays may be inevitable due to:
- Gathering information from the individuals concerned
- On-going police or criminal trial
- Employer investigations
- Difficulty finding dates when everyone is available for a hearing
- Adjournment requests.
When investigating a complaint we will need to inform the FHT member involved. This will include the name of the person who has raised the complaint - unless the complaint has been made anonymously - and will also include any comments made during the initial enquiry stages. The contact details of this person will be removed from any documents we send. All information shared between these parties involved, must be treated strictly private and confidential.
All records will be kept for a period of 10 years. The FHT reserves the right to reconsider complaints previously submitted if a member has repeatedly breached the Code of Conduct in frequent succession or where a warning has been given for a previous complaint of a similar nature. Exceptions or extensions may be considered depending on the nature of the complaint.
This document is to be used in conjunction with the Professional Conduct Procedure.